Fishing

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Fisherman stands on shore where the muddy Paria flows into the Colorado River
Waiting for the big one

NPS

Lake Powell created a new realm for anglers. Before Glen Canyon Dam was built, the Colorado River was so full of silt that only suckers, bonytails, and chubs who had adapted to its conditions over eons of time could survive in its murky waters.

The need to protect these native endangered fish is the highest priority of the National Park Service. That does not change the fact that abundant game fish now thrive in the clear waters of Lake Powell. Introduced species such as bass and crappie as well as walleye, bluegill, and catfish challenge the avid fisherman.

 

Licenses

Lake Powell

Lake Powell straddles the border of Utah and Arizona, so make sure you have a valid Utah or Arizona fishing license. A license from one state is valid on all of Lake Powell. Licenses can be purchased online, by visiting the offices of Utah Department of Wildlife or Arizona Game and Fish Departments, or at many convenience and fishing gear stores.

AZ portion: All persons 10 years of age and older must have a valid fishing license.
UT portion: All persons 11 years of age and older must have a valid fishing license.
If you have a valid Utah or Arizona fishing or combination license—whether you are a resident or nonresident—you may fish both the Utah and Arizona portions of the lake, as long as you follow the angling regulations that apply to the state where you are fishing.

Colorado River

Arizona fishing license required. Youth under the age of 10 may fish without a license. Visit Arizona Game & Fish for full regulations.

 

Regulations

Why Regulations?

Fishing regulations help conserve fish for the enjoyment of future park visitors and help to maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems. By following the fishing regulations in national parks, you can be an important steward of fish conservation.

Fishing regulations tell you what you can fish for and in some cases how you can fish (like catch and release) in order to conserve fish populations in national parks.

Fishing regulations in most parks consist of NPS general fishing regulations and the fishing regulations of the state in which the park is located. However, each park may adapt these regulations to address park specific management concerns. Therefore, fishing regulations vary from park to park depending on the state where the park is located and the different species and stressors parks are managing.

In Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, you can legally fish on Lake Powell and the Colorado River. Make sure you look at Arizona and Utah regulations before you get here.

Lake Powell

Lake Powell is filled with enough fishing holes to keep any angler busy, but you should know where fishing is prohibited before dropping your line.

Check USGS Water Data for Lake Powell. Check the launch ramp webcams for real time conditions.

Here is a quick listing of fishing regulations on lake Powell. Please read the most current Utah or Arizona fishing regulations guidebooks for a more complete resource on the fishing trip you are planning.

Permitted bait:
•You may legally use or possess corn while fishing anywhere in Utah where bait is permitted.
•Dead shad from Lake Powell may be used as bait in the form of fresh or frozen fish or fish parts, only in Lake Powell. It is illegal to remove dead shad from the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
•Dead striped bass from Lake Powell may be used as bait or chum only in Lake Powell.
•Dead, fresh or frozen saltwater species, including sardines and anchovies, may be used as bait in any water where bait is permitted.
•Dead mountain sucker, white sucker, Utah sucker, redside shiner, speckled dace, mottled sculpin, fathead minnow (all color variants, including rosy red minnows), Utah chub and common carp may be used as bait in any water where bait is permitted.
•The eggs of any species of fish caught in Utah, except prohibited fish, may be used in any water where bait is permitted. You may not, however, take or use eggs from fish that are being released.
•You may only use live crayfish for bait if you are on the water where the crayfish were captured. It is unlawful to transport live crayfish away from the water where they were captured. You may use commercially prepared and chemically treated baitfish or their parts as bait in any water where bait is permitted.

While you are fishing, it is unlawful to:
•Use or possess live baitfish.
•Use or possess tiger salamanders (live or dead).
•Use or possess any bait—including PowerBait or scented jigs—if you are on waters designated artificial fly and lure only.
•Use or possess artificial baits that are commercially imbedded or covered with fish or fish parts.
•Transport any species of fish (live or dead), including baitfish, from that water to use in any other water.
•Limit 20 smallmouth bass.
•Limit 5 largemouth bass.
•Limit 10 crappie.
•Limit 25 channel catfish.
•No limit on striped bass.
•No limit on walleye.
Possession of the following nongame fish is prohibited. If you catch any of these fish, you must release them immediately:
•Bonytail
•Colorado pikeminnow
•Humpback chub
•Razorback sucker
•Fish may be filleted at any time.
•Anglers may possess filleted fish.
•Anglers may use dead striped bass as bait.
•Chumming is allowed, but you may chum only with legal baits or dead striped bass, as specified in Utah Admin. Rule R657-13-12.
•Gaffs may be used to land striped bass only.
•Closed to the use of underwater spearfishing to take largemouth and smallmouth bass from April 1 through the fourth Saturday of June. •Archery and underwater spearfishing are prohibited within all of the following areas: •One-quarter mile of all existing developed areas, including shoreline campgrounds, docks, launch ramps, breakwaters and trailheads •One-quarter mile of any structure, including any building, shed, pump-out, boat dock, breakwater, permanent harbor fixture, camper, motor home, trailer, tent or vehicle • Rainbow Bridge National Monument •One-quarter mile of Dangling Rope Marina, including any land- or harbor-based structures •One hundred yards (300 feet) of any boats (unless the person owns, rents, leases or lawfully occupies the boat), or another boat moves into the 100-yard perimeter after the bow or spearfishing activity has commenced


Colorado River

Check USGS Water Data for the Colorado River at Lees Ferry.

  • Limit 2 rainbow trout per day.
  • There is no limit on other sport fish species which includes all species of bass (including sunfish and stripers), all species of catfish, all species of trout other than rainbow trout, and walleye.
  • Artificial fly and lure only (visual attractants). Any use of baits, scents, or scent impregnated worms, living or dead organisms, artificial salmon eggs, artificial corn, artificial marshmallows are prohibited.
  • Barbless hooks only. Hooks may be clipped off or bent over.
  • Rainbow trout taken from this portion of the Colorado River shall be killed and retained as part of the bag limit or immediately released.
  • The area immediately below Glen Canyon Dam, posted with buoys, is closed to entry. It is the angler’s responsibility to know what regulations apply to the body of water they are fishing.
  • The limit is 6 rainbow trout per day.
  • Trout taken from this portion of the Colorado River shall be killed and retained as part of the bag limit or immediately released.
  • There is no limit on other sport fish species which includes all species of bass (including sunfish and stripers), all species of catfish, all species of trout other than rainbow trout, and walleye.
There is no limit on sport fish species which includes all species of bass (including sunfish and stripers), all species of catfish, all species of trout, and walleye.

 
Drawing of a striped fish.
Striped bass. Consumption advisory for this fish are in effect due to mercury levels.

Fish Consumption Advisories in National Park Waters

The Environmental Protection Agency, states, territories, and tribes provide advice on fish and shellfish caught in the waters in their jurisdiction to help people make informed decisions about eating fish. Advisories are recommendations to limit your consumption of, or avoid eating entirely, certain species of fish or shellfish from specific bodies of water due to chemical or biological contamination.

Fish is part of a healthy balanced diet, but eating wild fish and shellfish caught in park waters is not risk free. Parks are “islands”, but the much larger “ocean” that surrounds them affects the natural resources inside a park. Other aquatic toxins are the result of natural biological processes. Also, chemical contaminants that originate outside of park boundaries can come into parks.

Mercury is an example of a toxin originating outside a park that can find its way into a park. Mercury exists naturally in some rocks, including coal. When power plants burn coal, mercury can travel in the air long distances before falling to the ground, usually in low concentrations. Once on the ground, microorganisms can change this elemental mercury to methyl mercury. This type of mercury can build up in animal tissues, and it can increase in concentration to harmful levels. This high concentration can occur in large predatory fish - those often pursued and eaten by anglers. Studies have shown that fish in some National Park System waters have mercury levels that may be a concern to people who regularly eat a lot of fish.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Fish Consumption Advisory

Public Health, Environmental and Wildlife agencies from Utah and Arizona jointly issued a mercury fish advisory for striped bass in the southern portion of Lake Powell from Dangling Rope Marina to the dam. Read more from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

No other fish found in Lake Powell or the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam have a consumption advisory at this time.

To learn more about this topic, the National Park Service maintains information about Fish Consumption Advisories and Mercury and Toxins in Nature.

 
Sign and brush attached to metal grate
Wader Cleaning Stations are available in the Lees Ferry area.

NPS

Aquatic Invasive Species


Imagine your favorite fishing spot and the wonderful memories. Things may look fine but underneath the surface there is a serious threat. Everything you remembered is now cemented together in a sharp, smelly mess. Invaders have wiped out the fish species you used to catch.

Aquatic invasive species are not native to an ecosystem. Their introduction causes, or is likely to cause, harm to the economy, the environment, or to human health. Aquatic invasive species are a growing risk to parks and their values. In the United States alone, there are more than 250 non-native aquatic species.

For many centuries, humans have contributed to spreading non-native species around the globe. You can make a difference. To learn more about Aquatic Invasive Species in the National Park Service, visit the Fish & Fishing website.

How You Can Help – Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers

Clean. Drain. Dry.

Because quagga mussels have been confirmed both above and below the dam, and New Zealand mudsnails are in the river below the dam, all boaters and fishermen must clean, drain, and dry their boats and all equipment after contact with these waters.

Educate yourself on the threats of aquatic invasive species (AIS) and state regulations in place to prevent their spread. In addition to ecological impacts, quagga mussels have devastating financial impacts on marina infrastructure and boats.

 

Fishing Throughout the National Park Service

We invite you to visit the Fish and Fishing website for more information about fish and fishing in the National Park Service. You will learn about conservation, different fish species, and parks that offer fishing.

Last updated: September 9, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 1507
Page, AZ 86040

Phone:

(928) 608-6200
Receptionist available at Glen Canyon Headquarters from 7 am to 4 pm MST, Monday through Friday. The phone is not monitored when the building is closed.

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